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Full text of "My country and my people"

ID E A LS   OF   LIFE                           121
sincere humanist, seems to need this selfish bait. Nevertheless, Buddhism has given rise to the great institution of well-to-do
families providing big earthen jars of cold tea for passing wayfarers on hot summer days- It is, in common phraseology, a good tiling, irrespective of motive.
Many Chinese novels, like the tales of Boccaccio, have accused the monks and nuns of immorality* This is based on the universal human delight taken in exposing all forms of hypocrisy. It is natural and easy therefore to make Gasanovas of Chinese monks, provided with witchcraft and secret aphrodisiacs. There are actually cases, in certain parts of Chekiang, for examples where a nunnery is but a house of prostitution. But on the whole, the charge is unfair, and most monks are good, retiring, polite and well-behaved people, and any DOE Juan exploits are limited to transgressing individuals, and are grossly exaggerated in novels for effect. From my personal observation^ most monks are underfed, anaemic and incapable of such exploits. Besides, this misjudgment is due to the failure to see the connection between sex and religion in China. The monks have a greater chance to see beautifully dressed women than any other class of people in China. The practice of their religion, whether in private homes or in their temples, brings them in daily contact with women who are otherwise shut away from the public. Thanks to the Confucian seclusion of women, the only unimpeachable pretext for women to appear in public is to go to the temples and "burn incense/5 On the first and fifteenth of every month, and on every festive occasion, the Buddhist temple is the rendezvous of all the local beauties, married or otherwise, dressed in their "Sunday best,3* If any monk eats pork on the sly, he may also be expected to indulge in occasional irregularities. Add to this the fact that many monasteries are exceptionally well endowed, and many monks have plenty of money to spend, which is the cause of mischief in many cases that have come to light in recent years. In 1934 a nun actually had the audacity to sue a monk for infidelity in a Shanghai court. Anything may happen in China.
I give here a refined example of the literary handling of the sexual problems of the monks. The poem is called a "Young